The mayors of San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other big California cities urged lawmakers Wednesday to address the state’s housing shortage.
Before meeting with lawmakers at the Capitol, a coalition of mayors representing California’s 11 largest cities told reporters the state isn’t providing enough money to subsidize affordable housing for low-income people. They also said some state regulations are impeding housing development in their communities, where home prices are increasing rapidly.
Their pleas come as lawmakers negotiate a package of bills to address the problem.
Leaders in the Assembly and Senate have said the package will include a $4 billion housing bond, a real estate transaction fee and regulatory reform. But they have not provided details about all of the bills included in the deal.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the lack of affordable housing is the biggest problem facing California’s biggest cities.
The Democratic mayor said he and his counterparts from other cities want the housing package to give city officials more power to address the crisis and to provide the cities with more state money for subsidized housing.
“When we have significant numbers of working families living in their cars, we have a crisis,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a Democrat, told reporters on the steps of the state Capitol building. “I urge legislators to be bold. ... People are willing to pay more to actually solve the problem.”
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, said he and the other mayors agree the housing deal should provide money for affordable housing and reduce burdensome regulations that slow housing production.
Lawmakers this week changed the main funding bills being discussed to direct more affordable housing money to local governments and to home loans for veterans.
A vote on the bills could come as early as Friday. Lawmakers and others involved in the negotiations admit they face an uphill battle convincing two-thirds of the Legislature to support one of the most controversial measures, a fee on real estate transaction documents that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year to fund affordable housing.